When the Tribune gets it wrong

December 19, 2009


“Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated,” as penned by Mark Twain, seems an appropriate reply to the Tribune’s unfortunate and erroneous “Big Buzz” article from December 3.

Our business has suffered greatly since The Tribune published their article. We’ve even had customers call and offer their condolences. It would be funny, if it wasn’t so serious.

To clarify: Salisbury Vineyards, Inc is our successful core business, handling all of the winemaking, sales, and farms 65 percent of the 80 acres of wine grapes that we grow. Our Schoolhouse Tasting Room and Salisbury Fine Art Gallery are also separate and successful companies.

Salisbury Vineyards, LLC is a different company than Salisbury Vineyards, Inc. It currently owns the 113 acres surrounding the Bassi Ranch Estates in Avila Valley. Last January the previous owner wanted to sell the property to his partner. To protect our water rights and our considerable financial cash investment in the 28 acres of wine grapes we planted (one of the five vineyards we own or lease), we reluctantly invoked the “Right of First Refusal” in our lease which we still happily had 22 years remaining.

We bought the property with short-term financing and the seller got 80 percent of his asking price in a two day escrow. While setting up our long-term refinancing (tough nowadays) and helped by getting an appraisal for 25 percent over the selling price, we found we needed just a little more time to successfully complete the financing.

Running into some hard deadlines, and not getting an extension from the previous owner, we found it necessary to file for protection only for Salisbury Vineyards, LLC under a special statute for fishermen and family farmers. We have a good plan to pay the property creditors within a reasonably short time. As our family has been farming in California for 160 years, we felt we had to take steps to protect this special piece of land for future generations.

Maybe Shakespeare’s quote in 1598 “Much ado about nothing” is more apropos. School is still in session!

John Salisbury is the owner of Salisbury Vineyards in San Luis Obispo.

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Your clarity has been heard, thanks John!

Did the Tribune run a correction or apology?

The Trib is riddled with sloppiness like this. Even more troubling are the deliberate distortions on business, real estate and development stories, on which they have clear conflicts of interest. It cannot be considered a serious newspaper, and it’s hilarious that they seem to take themselves very seriously. If McClatchy had any sense, they’d replace the management, though it’s unclear who’d be dumb enough to take such a job.

The Trib seems to get it wrong, or get very little of the story, more and more. We subscribed for over 20 years but they just continued failing to cover the news accurately. I guess their journalists are too few, stretched too thin. Big shame.